Should Conference Venues And Meeting Rooms Provide Free Wi-Fi?

There has been much discussion in the press recently about the availability of free Wi-Fi for delegates using conference venues and hotels in the UK. This is a subject that I feel very strongly about, not only from a customer service point of view, but also from a personal one. For business use, the demand for an internet connection is inevitably becoming greater, which is expected. More and more of us require a fast internet connection when we are outside our workplace or homes.

Thoughts
I was prompted to write this piece following a recent trip to Holland. It is no exaggeration when I say that free Wi-Fi was available in the most unlikely places. From standing on a station platform to a small café, all locations offered free Wi-Fi without the need to logon or pay upfront using a credit card. I even found myself a connection on a railway platform in a very remote part of the country. However, I did lose the connection when the train waiting on the opposite platform pulled out of the station!

Conversely, on another trip within the UK where I attended a conference and banqueting meeting, the hotel where I was staying was charging £4 an hour for Wi-Fi access. I could have a 24 hour pass for £10 – not exactly a bargain. Consequently, I declined their offer.

Gradual Changes Within Conference Facilities
The cost of providing access to the internet continues to fall with prices starting as low as £7 per month. So why do some hotels and conference venues continue to charge extortionate fees?  In my view, it amounts to nothing more than an excuse to rip off clients. However, times are changing and with the help of certain pressure groups, free Wi-Fi is now starting to be offered by more and more conference venues. The Conference Cloud is an organisation which is campaigning for free Wi-Fi for all conference delegates and now has over 200 registered conference facilities who offer completely free internet access. Some extremely well established banqueting venues have also been members for over a year, setting the benchmark for others to follow.

Suggestions When Deciding On A Conference Facility
Established conference facilities in Peterborough notably took the decision to absorb the costs of their Wi-Fi installation without raising delegate rates. It proved to be the right decision and they now provide a robust and reliable service to their clients. If you are considering a conference venue for your event, free Wi-Fi should be a priority and I would suggest confirming this with the host of the meeting rooms prior to confirming your booking. Accurate planning is essential for this nature of meeting, and I have seen many successes from meetings held in conference venues which offer extras such as free Wi-Fi.

By Sam Hurley; A Digital Marketing Consultant at http://www.fdcstudio.co.uk/ providing full service strategies for a wide range of clientele